LatinNews Daily - 19 January 2024

In brief: Brazil’s Petrobras to expand controversial oil refinery

*Brazil’s President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva and Jean Paul Prates, CEO of the state-controlled oil company Petrobras, have launched plans to expand the Abreu e Lima refinery (RNEST) in the north-eastern state of Pernambuco. RNEST first came into operation in 2014 and was once a flagship infrastructure project proposed during Lula’s previous presidencies (2003-2011), but its construction works had been mired in allegations of overspending and corruption; it was one of the projects implicated in the ‘Lava Jato’ corruption investigation. According to a Petrobras press release, the oil giant will invest US$17bn in the expansion works over the next five years. Federal government funding will be allocated to build a second train (processing facility), which is expected to have a processing capacity of 260,000 barrels of oil per day (boepd). The works for RNEST’s second train will begin this year and are expected to be completed in 2028. The company also plans to expand the refinery’s diesel processing facilities. Prates is cited in a press release as saying that RNEST’s diesel production capacity is expected to increase by 40% over the next few years.

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